By: Madison Kinner
Jordan Wisely is an actor, reality star, director, writer, producer, brand ambassador and now, a professional race car driver because Deily Motorsports gave him a chance.
The Deily Motorsports team is no stranger to taking chances. After making their debut in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season finale at Road Atlanta last year, they committed to trying to run a full season this year.
Jacob Deily said making his IMSA debut was not what he expected.
The amount of competition in this class, it’s a pretty stacked class,” Jacob Deily said. “It’s hard to keep up with them.”
Bob Deily said initially, the plan was to use the TCR car they had for Road Atlanta and do a few rounds, but a deal came together with Bryan Herta Autosport that allowed Deily Motorsports to expand to two cars and run the full season.
Jacob Deily said the beginning of the season was tough for the new team.
“We had a lot of setbacks and a lot of problems we had to work through,” Jacob Deily said.
As a Hyundai brand ambassador, Wiseley met Bob and Jacob Deily while participating in Hyundai’s annual Drivers’ Camp at Daytona, and Jacob Deily and Wiseley got along quickly.
“[Jacob] and I hit it off and just started having fun, laughing,” Wiseley said. “And we’re all from Oklahoma, me and the Deily family, so we bonded on that.”
Bob Deily said his son Jacob was greatly impacted by meeting Wiseley.
“Jacob and Jordan met there and just had a blast on the zipline the first night,” Bob Deily said. “They were just having fun and the stories were amazing, and Jacob came back a completely new person. All of the stress and everything he was struggling with heading into the Daytona race weekend were gone just because of Jordan and his personality.”
At Daytona, the Deily’s gave Wiseley an offer: the next time he was in Oklahoma, he could drive one of their spare cars.
“A couple weeks later, I did call them on their invite, went out for three days and drove one of their spare race cars,” Wiseley said. “And after that, they were like ‘hey you’re pretty good at this, want to drive?’ And that was awesome.”
“He jumped in the car and had a knack for it,” Bob Deily said. “He did about 350 laps that first three days, we couldn’t get him out of the car. We brought him back and [he] tested one of the TCR cars and did really well.”
When Wisely made his first start for Deily Motorsports at Laguna Seca, he was nervous, unsure if he was good enough to hold his own in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
“I was really having those questions of ‘am I good enough to be here, and then we hit first practice, and our times were right there, and I was like ‘okay, I can do this,” Wiseley said. “And then we came to qualifying and I was just in my head, ‘okay, don’t be last,’ and we weren’t, not even close.”
That race, Wisely and James Vance finished 11th in class in the No. 74 Hyundai Elantra N TCR.
Deily Motorsports took the next two rounds of the season off to catch their breath, and they
came back feeling better than ever at Lime Rock. At Lime Rock, Wiseley finished 12th, driving alongside Cabot Bingham.
“Now it feels like we are rolling with punches instead of just taking punches, and we’ve made huge strides,” Wiseley said. “So now we’re in a position where we are able to show up, get off the trailer, and start competing instead of being on the back foot.”
Now, heading into the 2024 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Season, Wiseley said the team is confident because they have something they haven’t had before — knowledge of what the track is like at speed.
“That’s so much more valuable than an engineer just having to be like ‘okay, we’ll just keep feeling it out, we’re just gonna keep pushing that little bit more, little bit more’” Wiseley said.
This off season will be Deily’s first as a fully formed team, so it will be about practicing as a team and maximizing performance.
“Our driver has come a long way, our setup has come a million miles, our speed and pace is there, now we have to minimize mistakes as a team just in total,” Wiseley said.
The Deily’s said the team is looking to move forward in the TCR field next season.
“I’m just excited that all of our drivers want to come back for next season, and it looks like our crew is pretty much going to stay together,” Bob Deily said. “So, we should have some continuity in place and I really believe we’ve got some solid building blocks for a much stronger 2024.”
“We are just hoping to learn more and keep going faster,” Jacob Deily said.
Wisely said he enjoys seeing how far both himself and the team have come since the start of their journey together.
“We just scratched and clawed our way to get to the grid from the beginning” Wisely said. “But now we’ve learned and grown and got ourselves feeling good, looking good, and able to compete, and that is the stuff I love being a part of.”
Madison Kinner is a senior in journalism at Ohio State University and is the winner of the 2023 Rod Campbell award.
Deily Motorsports is a Bryan Herta Autosport Track Support Team.